Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Disappearing Male

 Michael Mendezza from Touch the Future shared this information about the effect of environmental toxins on male fetuses and fertility. Artificial chemicals in the environment have increased from less than 100 in the early 1900's to over 86,000 now. The video below explains that 85% of those chemicals have not been evaluated for safety for human babies.
  Michael encourages us to get informed. The following came from Michael's newsletter. 

Download and read the complete interview with Peat Myers, Chief Executive Officer of Environmental Health Science, one who has been involved with the science behind this issue since it began. He describes with profound clarity how hormones bind with DNA which trigger protein expression - and how chemicals that mimic hormones, in this case estrogen, are altering human development around the world - it is excellent.
 From the video site:   "The Disappearing Male is a CBC documentary about one of the most important, and least publicized, issues facing the human species: the toxic threat to the male reproductive system. The last few decades have seen steady and dramatic increases in the incidence of boys and young men suffering from genital deformities, low sperm count, sperm abnormalities and testicular cancer. At the same time, boys are now far more at risk of suffering from ADHD, autism, Tourette's syndrome, cerebral palsy, and dyslexia. The Disappearing Male takes a close and disturbing look at what many doctors and researchers now suspect are responsible for many of these problems: a class of common chemicals that are ubiquitous in our world. Found in everything from shampoo, sunglasses, meat and dairy products, carpet, cosmetics and baby bottles, they are called "hormone mimicking" or "endocrine disrupting" chemicals and they may be starting to damage the most basic building blocks of human development".  Bisphenol A is a synthetic oestrogen that affects cell differentiation in the fetus, having a particularly troublesome effect on male fetuses/babies. 

What is Bisphenol A? Bisphenol A is a chemical commonly used in the manufacture of clear polycarbonate plastic. It is one of the top 50 products produced by the chemical industry, generating revenues in the order of $6 million per day in the United States, Europe, and Japan alone. Global bisphenol A production exceeds 6.4 billion pounds per year.
How pervasive is it? Most people reading this will have come into contact with bisphenol A at some stage in their life. A study by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 95% of Americans have detectable levels of bisphenol A in their bodies. Researchers also found that the median level of bisphenol A in humans was substantially higher than the level that causes adverse effects in other animals.
Where is it found? Bisphenol A is commonly found in a range of polycarbonate plastic products, including most plastic baby bottles. It is also found in the following:
  • children’s toys
  • dental sealants
  • epoxy lining of food and beverage cans
  • reusable drink containers
  • microwavable food containers
  • electronic equipment
  • sports helmets
  • eyeglass lenses


What can we do? Given that bisphenol A has been found to alter cell behaviour even at very low levels – in the parts per trillion – the safest approach is to avoid using products containing it altogether. This is especially important during pregnancy and infancy.

Breastfeeding babies is best, the baby's mother however, needs to avoid bisphenol A containing products. If a mother is bottle feeding her baby, then ensuring the bottles and teats that are used are made of products that do not contain bisphenol A is important.

You may also like to watch a brief ABC report on Bisphenol A and newborn health.

References
vom Saal, F.S. and Welshons, W.V. Large effects from small exposures: II. The importance of positive controls in low-dose research on bisphenol A. Environmental Research, Online November, 2005. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2005.09.001.
vom Saal, F.S. and Hughes, C. An extensive new literature concerning low-dose effects of bisphenol A shows the need for a new risk assessment. Environ. Health Perspect. 113:926-933, 2005.
Gibson, R.L. Toxic Baby Bottles. Scientific Study finds leaching chemicals in clear plastic baby bottles. Environment California Research & Policy Center. Feb 2007

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